One of the things that was at the forefront of my thoughts and prayers over the weekend was the power of the gospel over sickness. I was ministering to a wonderful group and within this group there were not one but two men who have faced and are facing the challenge of brain tumours. One has been in remission by God's grace and is living years longer than his doctors expected. The other has had a more intense recent battle with lots of uncertainty, surgery, radio therapy and physical implications not least including hair loss. It was James who helped lead us in worship and his courage and enthusiasm for God were so moving and encouraging. He is a soldier not just in vocation but also in heart. As is his wife Felicity.
Matt Chandler is a preacher who has blessed me. Someone recommended a while back I watch this sermon and here you witness him at the peak of his physical and preaching self.
Not long after this, Matt collapsed on his kitchen floor and was discovered to have a brain tumour. I have since been following some of his story and he has chosen to share his story with his church and the world.
You can follow his step by step walk here as he has faced surgery and shared his challenges.
There is a talk that came to mind that particularly helped me as we lost our wonderful friend Jo in Holy Trinity to cancer earlier this year at the age of 32. It is called Death is not dying and I commend it to all who want to grapple with the reality that we will all one day face physical death. Many of us have not yet had to sit in the oncologists chair and heard bad news as James and Mark have had to. But we will one day. And the truth of the gospel as laid out in Romans is that those who have not received Christ are in the bad news chair but they have just not realised yet their desperate need for the gospel of grace. Bad news is only temporary for the Christian for the Good News is Jesus and he is alive and risen. Jesus heals today, that I know and believe, and as I laid hands on my sick brother I was contending for that. But it seems sometimes he does not heal when we ask Him. Another talk that speaks to this is called the Future which a friend recommended to me and was a sermon preached in her church in response to a young mother who died very young and very unexpectedly. It lays out afresh for us the hope of the gospel and the certainty we can have in Christ. We have a glorious hope.
So please stand with James and his family and do pray for them. Recent news praise God is good but they need our on-going prayer and support.